An armored vehicle is a motor vehicle which has been reinforced with armored plating to protect the vehicle and its occupants from gunfire, explosives, and other hazards. There are a range of uses for armored vehicles, with the bulk of armored vehicles around the world being used by militaries and governments. It is also possible to purchase such vehicles for private use, although they tend to be quite expensive.
From the point of view of a government, an armored car is a valuable tool for transporting public officials who might be in danger, such as the head of state. Armored vehicles are also critical for military usage, both on the battlefield and in domestic applications. When the military responds to requests for assistance in natural disasters, for example, armored vehicles are used to transport people and goods securely. Armored vehicles are also used by private individuals who are concerned about their personal safety.
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An armored vehicle can be obtained in one of two ways: by specifically ordering an armored vehicle, or by outfitting an existing vehicle with armored plates. Several car companies make armored vehicles which range from models only available in armored configurations to models which are available armored or unarmoured, depending on need. Many existing vehicles can also be armored with the assistance of a specialty company.
In addition to thick metal or ceramic plates, an armored vehicle usually includes a range of other safety measures. The tires are typically reinforced, for example, and the car may have an air filtration system which allows the occupants to survive chemical attacks. The glass in the vehicle is typically bulletproof, and the dashboard may feature special command options including a secure line for radio communications.
Many armored vehicles have highly advanced steering and braking systems which allow the driver more control over the car. These systems help to compensate for the increased weight of the car, and they are sometimes designed to make the car as maneuverable as possible, since getting out of a dangerous situation is usually a critical need, even if one's vehicle is armored against potential threats.
Because an armored vehicle is extremely heavy, it must have a powerful engine. The strong engine compensates for the weight, and allows the vehicle to move quickly in an emergency, but it takes a toll on fuel economy. Armored vehicles tend to cluster near the low end of fuel efficiency ratings, with buyers prioritizing safety over fuel expenses.